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Royal Society of Chemistry

Source Publication

Environmental Science: Advances

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1039/D3VA00138E


Iron-based oxidation technologies can be advantageous for mitigating trace organic compounds (TOrCs) during water and wastewater treatment due to their production of hydroxyl radicals. However, iron-based oxidation often occurs at acidic pH to promote Fenton's reaction, which limits the processes' feasibility for treatment applications. This study focused on utilizing iron-electrocoagulation (EC) paired with ex situ H2O2 addition (peroxi-electrocoagulation [EC:H2O2]) to promote oxidative reactions at neutral pH conditions. The hydroxyl radical probe para-chlorobenzoic acid (pCBA) was used to gauge oxidant activity and serve as a representative TOrC. The impact of water pH, current density, iron dose, H2O2 dose (i.e., [H2O2]initial/[Fe2+]generated ratio), and the presence of natural organic matter (NOM) were evaluated. Multivariable regressions showed that high levels of H2O2 relative to iron (i.e., [H2O2]initial/[Fe2+]generated ratio >0.7) inhibited the rate of pCBA oxidation, likely due to additional radical quenching from extra H2O2. Oxidation of pCBA was confirmed at neutral pH conditions, indicating that EC:H2O2 may potentially serve as a multi-mechanistic treatment technology capable of oxidation. Experiments were also conducted in real-world water samples to gauge EC:H2O2 applications for treating groundwater, river water, and primary treated wastewater. Overall, H2O2 addition enhanced the oxidative degradation of TOrCs while still removing NOM. The one exception was the primary effluent sample, which had the highest degree of oxidant scavenging of all matrices tested. The electrical energy per order (EEO) metric demonstrated that EC:H2O2 is competitive with other TOrC oxidation technologies, with the added benefit of NOM mitigation in the same unit process.


Published version. Environmental Science: Advances, No. 11 (November 2023): 1574-1586. DOI. © 2023 Royal Society of Chemistry. Used with permission.

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